Yesterday morning, as I was getting ready for work, I heard G open the door and say, “hey, you’ll never guess what I found.”
G was walking our two boys when he saw a lone dog walking along Florida Avenue in Dupont Circle. He went over, grabbed the dog’s collar (no tag) and then brought him back to our house. So started our journey into the world of stray dogs and the modern world of how to locate a lost dog’s owner.
I had no idea what to do, so I called my dog resources first thing – our dog daycare, our vet, our dogwalker, our dogsitter and groomer. I fired up the laptop and started searching for area dog rescue for terriers or maybe poodles – it was hard to tell our new guest’s breed.
- The first thing I learned – without tags to prove the dog had his shots, no one could really hold onto him, for fear of getting other dogs sick. Makes sense, but what now? I can’t keep him at home (unsupervised) with my two dogs either …
- Second thing I learned: call the Humane Society. I did. No one had reported him. They offered to come pick him up, but no promises on the timeframe. They also take animals 24 hours a day. We decided to wait and see.
- Third: social media is the new flyer in the park. I tweeted, got a retweet from a friend who’s a social media maven and also got a retweet and some advice from someone I didn’t know: post on Craigslist. I did. I also got around to posting on Facebook in the evening – although that only got me comments from friends on how cute the dog was …
At the end of the day, we had contacted other dog resources, spoke to others, and had a plan of attack: We would take Ronin (yes, we had named him already – Ronin, for masterless samuari) to the Humane Society. We would find out how long they would hold him, the exact next steps and sign up to foster him if his owner didn’t claim him. From there we would either find him a home or … our guys would have a new friend.
The Humane Society – grim. The two workers there couldn’t have been nicer, but they were clearly overworked and overwhelmed.
The waiting area: There were two women there picking up their cat – they were happy and friendly, told us Ronin “looked like a Dupont Circle dog.” There was a woman there with 3 nicely cared for large dogs – a white husky type dog, two brown and black dobermans or mixes. She was getting kicked out of her house and wanted to make sure her dogs had the chance to be adopted because she couldn’t take care of them anymore.
Back to Ronin. They would hold him for 5 days to wait for his owner. After that, they conduct a health check to determine if he can go on the adoption floor. They give him vaccines in the meantime.
So, he’ll go to the adoption floor and we can get him if no one claims him, G asked. Not exactly, sometimes if they are old … Well, Ronin was old and well-cared for and sweet – when we got home, we found him sitting quietly in the crate, no accidents, looking outside into our yard. G later decided that he was probably deaf, which is why he didn’t react too much. Just a mellow dude, and deserving of more than just a five day window.
We were finishing up the paperwork to make sure they would call us once the hold period ended, describing the collar he had on (which had broken off), when the woman realized she had taken a call earlier. She dug through a three-ring binder and found him.
Frosty. Frosty’s owner lived two blocks from Florida Avenue where G found him. Description listed him as a 15 year old cocker spaniel-poodle mix with a cataract forming in one eye. That would explain the funny blinking.
So, our saga ended with a happy reunion of Frosty and his worried dad – all because of an attentive in-take person and a distinctive collar. (Note to self: buy interesting dog collars).